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The Right—and Wrong—Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade
Carter Cast

Retail Price: $28.00
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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
ISBN: 9781610397094
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pub. Date: January 9, 2018

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Nearly a quarter century ago Carter Cast seemed to have it all together: he had a first-class education, an all-American athletic career, and was a very bright and energetic rising star on the fast track at a Fortune 100 company, PepsiCo. But blissfully unaware of how negative perceptions were shaped, he was stunned when called into his boss's office, and told he was "unpromotable" because he was "obstinate," "resistant," and "insubordinate."

Baffled, scared, and embarrassed, that defining moment led to Cast's years-long effort to try to understand why he came so close to going off track, discovering that what he saw as idiosyncratic was actually widespread. His research shows that 98 percent of people have at least one derailment risk factor and that half to two-thirds actually go off the rails. More often than not, people get fired, demoted, or plateau not because they lack the "right stuff," but because they let the "wrong stuff" act out. Derailment often afflicts talented people who are either unaware of a debilitating weakness or an interpersonal blind spot, or are arrogant enough to believe that feedback doesn't apply to them.

Cast's experiences and research led to five defining archetypes--Captain Fantastic, the One-Trick Pony, the Solo Flyer, Version 1.0, and the Whirling Dervish--that express traits that cut across gender and every level of seniority and that play out everywhere, from big corporations to small law firms, from education institutions to raw start-ups. He shows how these archetypes fail and succeed, and how to recognize blind spots that can lead to downfall. He provides ways to improve self-understanding--digging into topics like values, needs, and motives--and provides the reader with new ways to take charge of his or her career.


"This relatable career manual should inspire plenty of white-collar professionals to work on serious self-accounting, take responsibility for their own mistakes, and form support teams of friends, managers, and mentors."
—Publishers Weekly

"Warning: Your career might be in danger of going off the rails. You probably have blind spots that are leaving you closer to the edge than you realize. Fortunately, Carter Cast has the solution. In this smart, engaging book he shows you how avoid career derailment by becoming more self-aware, more agile, and more effective. This is the book you wish you had 20 years ago, which is why you should read it now."
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human

"Talent and drive aren't enough to prevent your career from derailing. After spending years exploring what causes people to stall or fall off the ladder, Carter Cast offers a book that's honest and actionable. Think of it as a mirror to help you see your blind spots."
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)

"Do your career a favor and read Carter Cast's new book. It's practical, thought-provoking, and funny - and it might just stop you from derailing when you least expect it."
—Dan Heath, co-author of best sellers Made to Stick, Switch and Decisive

"Carter Cast breaks the mold for professor/practitioners with The Right and Wrong Stuff. The book reveals a unique set of 5 career detailed archetypes which ring true, clear tips for accelerating your career, and page-turning stories of career success and failure."
—Dr. Geoff Smart, Chairman & Founder of ghSMART and New York Times bestselling author of Who

"This insightful and lively book is a pragmatic 'must-read' for all those aspiring to the C-suite. Carter brilliantly translates his grounded wisdom and classroom mastery onto the written page."
—Sally Blount, Dean, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

"People tend to assume that careers are just about trajectory. They're really about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, then finding environments where you can adapt and flourish. Carter's insights are based on real-world experiences. This book will help so many people to have the right career conversations to build their own Right Stuff."
—Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer, Facebook

"The most neglected fact in business is we're all human. Carter's brilliant, candid exploration of how self-awareness can make you a better leader should be required reading for managers at all levels of any organization. Know your blind spots and you'll have a very bright future."
—Chip Conley, Hospitality Entrepreneur and Bestselling Author

"Carter's ability to demystify and shine a light on why talented people stumble is a gift to anyone trying to progress in their career. Carter's blend of no-nonsense, practical advice delivered with a good dose of humor makes The Right and Wrong Stuff a leadership book you'll actually enjoy reading while you are learning something."
—Laila Tarraf, former Chief People Officer, Peet's Coffee

"In The Right (and Wrong) Stuff, Carter Cast offers an insightful exploration of the primary ways high potential professionals can get off track in their careers and then provides a road map to success for those who are willing to put in the work. I highly recommend it anyone who is serious about making the most of their career."
—Mike Gamson, Senior Vice President, Global Solutions, LinkedIn

About the Author

Carter Cast, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, was selected by his students three years running to receive the Faculty Impact Award. When not teaching, Cast is a venture partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, where he invests in early stage technology companies such as the Dollar Shave Club and Honest Company. He is a lead mentor for TechStars Chicago, one of the country's leading technology start-up accelerators, and has been featured in "The Accelerators," a Wall Street Journal forum in which start-up mentors discuss strategies for and challenges of creating a new business. Cast's writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He has been a guest on shows on Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC and Fox. Prior to his academic and venture-capital career, Cast was the chief executive officer at Walmart.com. During his tenure, Walmart.com became the third-highest-volume e-commerce company, behind Amazon and eBay. Before his career at Walmart, Cast was an officer and part of the launch team for Blue Nile, Inc., the leading online diamond and jewelry retailer, now a publicly traded company. Prior to that, he was vice president of product marketing for Electronic Arts, launching products such as The Sims. Cast started his career at PepsiCo, where he derailed early on before recovering to become director of marketing in the Frito-Lay division.

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